A year ago today, I signed a lease for an apartment near downtown Portland.
Today, I still live there.
This makes this the longest time I have consistently lived in any one place since I was 15.
The day after I was fully moved into my apartment, I walked downtown. I was a bit bored, I had filled out five job applications, and I did not know anyone. I sat in Pioneer Square, Portland’s Living Room, for about half an hour. I waited and I watched and I saw it get a bit darker and darker. I sat and I thought. I wondered if I would be able to sit in that space again in a year. Then I stood up and walked to Powell’s, where I browsed for a couple of hours.
In the past six months, I have survived a “snowpocalypse,” and Taco Bell’s new breakfast menu, I have bought LEGOs for the first time in years, started reading comics again, gone to a comic convention and a Tulip festival, walked my friends dog twice a week, run a half marathon, eaten pizza every day for a week and a half, written one of my favorite things I have ever written, rode a bike mostly uphill, and celebrated New Years Day in the same place for a second year in a row. I have presented at an international conference, driven to the beach with a ZipCar, slid down a hill on a piece of cardboard, made new friends, joined a game night group and watched the seasons slowly change. I think I have done a few other things too, but I cannot remember off-hand.
Individually, I do each of these things, and I feel like I am just doing the next thing I want or need to do. Collected, I see dozens of adventures, a collection of days I have chosen to live on the edge. My life in Portland has very much been that, a life on the edge. A very real and scary and thrilling ride.. Much like anything one learns to do it was terrifying at first, being in a new place, with completely new surroundings and not knowing what comes next. Slowly, bit by bit, one starts to get the hang of that which they are learning, they adjust to streets and cultural customs, and really start to fly.
The days I live on the edge are the days I feel most alive. The days I do not know how I am going to afford my needs, let alone my wants, the days I go on an unexpected adventure, the days I solve a problem or crisis, the days I listen to my friends problems, those are the days that I have come alive. I have had many of these days, some for earlier reasons in this list rather than latter.
I know that I will be living in Portland for at least another year, and after being scared I would not make it more than four months, I am thrilled. The longer I live here, the longer I want to live here.